Two and a half years ago, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law that changed the way marijuana is treated in Illinois. The Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act (ICRTA) decriminalized the use and possession of recreational marijuana and opened the door to private businesses selling it to citizens. Although marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, the ICRTA halted criminal punishment of marijuana users and even allowed Governor Pritzker to pardon thousands of previous marijuana convictions.
The ICRTA also included provisions that prevent marijuana use, by itself, to be considered as a factor when judges make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. No employee of an Illinois court – including child representatives like guardians ad litem – may discriminate against a parent based on the fact that they use marijuana. However, this does not mean that parents in Illinois can use marijuana however they please.
Do Not Allow Marijuana Use to Interfere with Parenting
Like parents who drink alcohol, parents who use marijuana must refrain from using it in a way that interferes with their parenting abilities. Best practices for marijuana use include:
- Keeping marijuana away from children – This is especially true for edibles that appear to be candy. Marijuana and alcohol should be kept out of sight and in a container that children cannot open.
- Not using marijuana in front of, or around, the children – Marijuana contains psychoactive compounds that affect a user’s body and state of mind. Marijuana can harm people who already experience anxiety or depression and can distort rational thinking. Even if you use medicinal marijuana, exercise great caution when using it around children.
- Never driving under the influence of marijuana – A marijuana DUI is the same as an alcohol DUI, and getting a DUI can have a major impact on a court’s willingness to give a parent time with their children. Marijuana can stay in your system longer than alcohol, and heavy users sometimes test positive for long periods after their last use. Even if you do not feel “high,” you may test positive and get a DUI.
When Can Marijuana Use Be Used as a Factor in Custody Disputes?
Judges need to know whether someone’s marijuana use is affecting their ability to parent competently. If a parent is showing up late or missing appointments, leaving the child alone or unsupervised, neglecting the child’s needs, or allowing unsafe visitors in the home, then the child’s best interests have been compromised and the parent can be denied parenting time.
Work with a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
If you are worried that your marijuana use may be used against you in court, a Naperville divorce attorney with Calabrese Associates, P.C. can help you understand your options under Illinois law. We are committed to understanding your unique circumstances and will work hard on your behalf to achieve a favorable outcome. Call us today for a confidential consultation at 630-393-3111.